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Dutch unveil 28bn-euro package to cut greenhouse emissions

The Netherlands unveiled a 28-billion-euro package Wednesday with a raft of measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combatting climate change, including cleaner energy and putting more electric cars on the road.

Dutch Climate and Energy Minister Rob Jetten, who announced the package at a press conference in The Hague, said the plan would realise government’s aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 — and could even top 60 percent.

“It is inevitable that our country, our landscape and our economy will change,” Jetten said.

“We are working towards a fully climate-neutral circular economy in 2050. For that we really have to get rid of fossil fuels and we have to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

Jetten presented no less than 120 measures. They included the closure of all gas and coal-driven power plants by 2035, subsidising the purchase of second-hand electrical vehicles and putting 65 million euros aside for research into building small-scale nuclear power plants.

The Dutch government has already announced it will build two nuclear power plants in southern Netherlands by 2035.

Jetten said petrol prices were set to rise to encourage motorists to change to electric transport in the future, making some 600 million euros available to subsidise the purchase of second-hand electrical cars.

The government would also increase the number of charging points for electrical vehicles, Jetten said.

“By working hard on our own renewable energy, we can make ourselves less dependent on fossil energy from questionable regimes,” Jetten said.

“We will have our own clean and sustainable energy supply and do not have to be blackmailed by types like Putin,” Jetten said, referring to Europe’s previous dependency on Russian gas.

Jetten’s announcement comes as EU lawmakers this week adopted laws expanding the bloc’s carbon-trading market and introducing a carbon border tax on imports.

Those measures bolster Europe’s bid to cut greenhouse gas emissions as it moves towards the goal of a net carbon-neutral future.

The 27 EU countries are collectively the third-biggest global emitter of carbon dioxide.

The Netherlands is one of the highest emitters of greenhouse gases in Europe, especially nitrogen.

In 2019 environmentalists won a landmark case when a Dutch court ordered the government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 percent by the end of 2020.